Unions Spent $4.4 Billion Since 2005

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 and is filed under News

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Don’t expect the Obama administration to launch an investigation to find out where all this money came from.  The Wall Street Journal broke a story today detailing just how much unions have spent to elect Democrats from 2005-2011.

Organized labor spends about four times as much on politics and lobbying as generally thought, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis, a finding that shines a light on an aspect of labor’s political activity that has often been overlooked. […]

The usual measure of unions’ clout encompasses chiefly what they spend supporting federal candidates through their political-action committees, which are funded with voluntary contributions, and lobbying Washington, which is a cost borne by the unions’ own coffers. These kinds of spending, which unions report to the Federal Election Commission and to Congress, totaled $1.1 billion from 2005 through 2011, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The unions’ reports to the Labor Department capture an additional $3.3 billion that unions spent over the same period on political activity.

The costs reported to the Labor Department range from polling fees, to money spent persuading union members to vote a certain way, to bratwursts to feed Wisconsin workers protesting at the state capitol last year. Much of this kind of spending comes not from members’ contributions to a PAC but directly from unions’ dues-funded coffers. There is no requirement that unions report all of this kind of spending to the Federal Election Commission, or FEC.